Water for Elephants Paperback – 14 Apr 2011
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Gruen's portrait of this world is satisfyingly rich and outlandish... Any reader of this inspiring novel (written in only a month) will be immersed in circus life; blinded by the thrilling, fatal dazzle of sequins and sawdust. (Daily Telegraph)
'Gruen brilliantly conjures up the whole brouhaha of herding punters into the temporary magic of the big top, and the harsh economic reality of sustaining the show. Both exotic and erotic, Water for Elephants is filled with colour and passion but is also charged with an elegiac sense of loss for an entire way of life.' (Financial Times)
'I loved Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Great story, loads of fun; hard to put down. So what if the heroine weighs 2500 pounds?' (Stephen King)
Lovely and mesmerising. (Kirkus)
This masterpiece of storytelling is a book about what animals can teach people about love. (Susan Cheever)
You are so immersed in circus life that you are completely blinded by the thrilling, fatal dazzle of sequins and sawdust. (Daily Telegraph)
There is a tender story of first love, of murder, mayhem and animal and human brutality, of hucksters, whores and the general hoopla created when the circus rolls into town... This book is every bit the fabulous escapist entertainment that the big top once was. (Sunday Express)
'The most magical, haunting novel I've read in the past few years.' (Daisy Waugh, Tatler)
'one of my favourite reads last year. It was so cinematic I just knew there would have to be a Hollywood movie. . . . Star of both the book and the movie is Rosie the elephant who is more intelligent and photogenic than any other member of the cast. And that's saying something because the two main human stars are the impossibly beautiful Reese Witherspoon and Twilight heart-throb Robert Pattinson.' (The Sun)
'Trust us, Water for Elephants is going to be one of the surprise hits of 2011. Sara Gruen's very readable novel is a story of impossible love set in the circus world during the 1930s and is set to be made into a blockbuster film starring Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. You heard it here first.' (Good Housekeeping)
'the ending gives you a lift and shows that good triumphs over evil.' (Epoch Times)
'Definitely worth catching up with if you've missed it so far.' (Choice)
'Water for Elephants is fun, sweet and thrilling and will pull you into the mysterious life of the circus so far that you won't want to leave.' (Guardian)
'It's a romantic story that's set in an evocatively rendered era.' (Heat)
'The writing conjures up the smells and sounds of the circus, the excitement and the magic, as well as the rather tawdry seediness and the both casual and overt brutality.... The delightful, fairy-tale ending left me smiling for days at the imagery conjured up by it.' (new books)
Beautifully written and completely unforgettable, Water for Elephants is an atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the US circus world circa 1932.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The action in Water for Elephants is fast-paced; more than sufficient to keep the reader glued to the pages. `Pit stops' to the action comes in the form of the story reverting back to the nursing home of the present-day, where Jacob is finding his aged infirmity almost intolerable. These respites back to present-day are brief though, and inevitably the narrative shoots back quickly to Jacob's circus days where the action regains its breakneck speed.
Gruen has really done her `homework' while researching for this novel. She's created a circus world that's wholly believable; one that you feel right in the midst of (especially when she intersperses the chapters with contemporary circus photos). Gruen tells us in the `author's note' at the back of the novel that she had researched extensively for Water for Elephants and it shows! So much so that you can almost smell the menagerie, and the sawdust of the circus ring.
What really makes Water for Elephants special for me though (aside from the great storyline) is the characters. Gruen has done a remarkable job of creating some truly colourful and memorable people in the pages of her novel. Uncle Al (the circus boss) and August (the animal trainer) are characters you're going to love to hate. Marlena, Kinko the Clown aka Walter, and Camel are character's you're just going to love. You're going to love the chief protagonist Jacob Jankowski too.Read more ›
Jacob Jancowski is studying for his final exams in veterinary medicine when the death of his parents leaves him in dire straits, both mentally and financially. In his confusion and despair he finds himself wandering, and before he comes to his senses he's jumped a train and entered a new life. It's a life full of highs and lows, a fast learning curve for a fresh faced lad from an Ivy League University.
Jacob, however, finds his niche and so unravels a wonderful story of an unknown time in a traveling circus.
Alongside this runs the current day Jacob, an old man in a nursing home, waiting out the end of his days, when the circus comes to town....
I loved the way the two stories were woven together at the end of the book, but I'm not going to give anything away. You'll have to read it!
My book of the year this year was Joanne Harris's "Gentlemen and Players", but at the last minute I think this book has pipped her to the post!
The novel was obvoiusly well researached, many of the events in the novel are based on real happenings, and for this reason it was very enjoyable. I learned about 'red-lighting' and the etiquette of the time surrounding performers fratenising with circus hands!
I did have some difficulty with the book being written as a first person narration. I think that Gruen gave herself unnecessary problems writing in this way, with Jacob witnessing conversations that it was unlikely he would have been involved in and making observations that seemed a little unlikely with what we knew about his character and experience. However this is a minor critisism.
I loved Rosie the elephant and Queenie the terrier, but animal lovers should be warned there is some pretty nasty animal cruelty in the book. It's well written but a little difficult to stomach.
All in all, a great book with a satisfying conclusion to both the young and the old Jacob storylines. I have deducted one star only because although I enjoyed the book, I wasn't really swept away.
I brought this as I thought it may be nice to read before the film comes out...I honestly was mainly interested in the film for Rob Pattinson but I must say I am glad I have read it as it is a excellent book and I didn't put it down so I finished it in a day and half and was gutted when it ended.... It is fantastically well written and I am now excited to see the big screen adaption as I think it will be excellent and no longer just for my R Patz fill.
Really is worth the read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not a book I would normally choose however I thoroughly enjoyed it. The romance, the descriptions of.circus life - an excellent book.Published 2 months ago by heather444
Loved this book. Romance, historical and informative. Based on real life happening.Published 3 months ago by V. Haffenden
Water for Elephants was amongst a number of books I’ve had on my reading list for some time and eventually decided to read.
What a remarkable story, excellently written. Read more
Not something I would have picked, but was recommended and I really enjoyed it. Ideal holiday read, quire gripping really!Published 3 months ago by M COTTON
I had no idea what the book was about, but I had heard it was worth reading. It was really very good, very different but easy to read and most entertaining. Read morePublished 3 months ago by lydie
Set in America in the 1930's this is a story about the train circus that toured the country.
The main character is Jacob Jankowski who is in his nineties and in a nursing... Read more